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Maybe and May be Hello guys! Well, in today's english class my teacher told about the difference between maybe and may be... but it's not made clear for me. Can you give me a hand and explain it to me again, please?! =D Thanks!
Feb 5, 2016 12:31 AM
Answers · 15
Maybe is used as an adverb for a verb, for example: "Maybe I need to buy some milk." - 'need' is the verb "Maybe we are at the wrong station." - 'are' is the verb "Maybe I will see my friend tomorrow" - 'will see' is the verb Maybe could be replaced with "it may be that..." "It may be that I need to buy some milk." "It may be that we are at the wrong station." "It may be that I will see my friend tomorrow" These are a little fancy and poetic, so normally people just say 'maybe' for short instead of 'It may be that...". But when you use 'may be' without another verb, the verb in the sentence is 'may be'. It is the structure of a modal verb, like with can, might, should (It mayb be, it can be, it might be, it should be... are all modals) Some examples for 'may be' without another verb: "It may be true" = it could be true, maybe it is true "I may be late for our appointment tonight" = maybe I will be late for our appointment "He may be here already" = maybe he is here already, it is possible that he is here already As you see, sometimes with the verb 'to be' you can express the same thing with a 'maybe' or with a 'may be', like in the last example, but you have to structure your sentence differently depending on which one you choose. I hope this helps : )
February 5, 2016
maybe = perhaps may be = can be
February 5, 2016
Maybe is an adverb. It modifies a verb mainly ! It means 'perhaps' . He didn't come at time . Maybe he forgot the appointment . May be is a verb phrase . 'May' here is a modal verb and ' may be ' means is possibly , might . He may be late It means : He might be late
February 5, 2016
It might help you to think of 'may' as a separate thing, like 'can'. It happens to be that sometimes the verb with it is 'be', but it could be another verb too. For example: Maybe it will rain tonight = It may rain tonight = (It might be that it will rain) (VERB: to rain) Maybe he will tell us = He may tell us (but we are not sure yet) = (It might be that he will tell us) (VERB: to tell) Maybe he is sick = He may be sick = (It might be that he is sick) (VERB: to be) The 'maybe' forms are much more common and easier, so I suggest to use 'maybe' instead of 'may be' until you feel more comfortable with these forms.
February 5, 2016
Here's a good outside link on the topic: http://blogs.transparent.com/english/maybe-versus-may-be/ I see your native language is Portuguese, so would it help to think of it like "maybe" (no space) as the English "talvez"? It's not a verb or a noun or anything like that, but it gives a bit of uncertainty to the sentence. It's an adverb. "May be" (with space) is a verb phrase -- "to be," with uncertainty because of the "may". The article I linked has some good examples of the usage and how to remember the difference! Hope this helps!
February 5, 2016
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Adans
Language Skills
English, German, Japanese (Okinawan), Portuguese
Learning Language
English, German, Japanese (Okinawan)